Since 1st January 2016, UNMAS in DRC supported the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) in the achievement of its mandate, Protection of Civilians (PoC) and supporting the stabilisation and strengthening of State institutions and key governance and security reforms. UNMAS supports the MONUSCO PoC mandate by responding to explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) requests from civilians, FARDC and MONUSCO. The number of beneficiaries from these activities are estimated at 707,500 civilians who now have safe access to key civilian infrastructures and land in four provinces (North Kivu, Ituri, South Kivu and Tanganyika), from which a total of 3,500 explosive items have been removed. In order to support the progressive transition of mine action activities to national counterparts, UNMAS has nationalized all EOD operations in support of MONUSCO POC mandate since November 2020.
UNMAS is working to ensure the protection of civilians through its 2 person Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) Disposal team based in Beni to enhance MONUSCO’s IED disposal capabilities, preparedness and readiness to protect civilians and UN staff in emergency situations.
Furthermore, UNMAS with funding from MONUSCO has provided support to the national authorities in order to enhance their capability to safely manage, store and mark state-held weapons and ammunition.
UNMAS is looking to continue building on the success achieved so far and enhance support to both humanitarian mine action and complete transition of the remaining humanitarian mine action activities to national counterparts.
Since independence in 1960, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has been locked in a spiral of armed conflict resulting in nationwide contamination by explosive hazards and an illicit proliferation of small arms and light weapons. UNMAS has been present in the DRC since 2002 and currently has offices in Kinshasa, Goma, Bunia, Beni and Bukavu, to coordinate and implement its country-wide activities in support of the Government of the DRC, MONUSCO and the UN Country Team.
In compliance with Security Council Resolutions 2098 (2013), 2409 (2018), 2463 (2019), 2502 (2019), 2556 (2020), UNMAS conducts explosive management activities to protect civilians and contribute to the safety and security of UN personnel, as well as weapons and ammunition management activities, to reinforce the current capacity of national security state actors to safely store and manage their weapons and stockpiles, in line with international standards.
Addressing Explosive Ordnance (EO) threats resulting from conflict in the east:
UNMAS conducts EOD spot tasks to remove the threat posed to civilians by landmines and ERW, delivers awareness sessions on the risks posed by explosives to MONUSCO civilian and uniform personnel, and staff from UN agencies, funds and programmes, and supports Troop and Police Contributing Countries in the disposal of obsolete and unserviceable ammunition as well as in clearance critical to ensure safe camp closures prior to handover to civilian use. These tasks enable increased access to key civilian infrastructure such as roads, housing, farmland, hospitals, etc, and facilitate the resumption of income-generating activities.
DRC security sector and national NGOs responds appropriately to EOD tasks:
The 2019 MONUSCO Independent Strategic Review recommended that UNMAS develop the national security forces capacity to clear mines and dispose of explosive ordnance. For the next 3 years, UNMAS will continue to work towards developing a sustainable national capacity, supporting the national security forces and national NGOs in enhancing their explosive hazard management capacity to provide the service post-MONUSCO exit. As coordinator of the Mine Action Area of Responsibility (AoR), UNMAS liaises with the Protection Cluster and with mine action operators to advocate for mine action representation in UN and national plans as well as for resource mobilization efforts. Finally, through policy and advocacy efforts, UNMAS supports the Congolese Mine Action Center (CCLAM) in achieving compliance with article 5 of the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (APMBC).
DRC national security institutions effectively manage and secure weapons and ammunition stockpiles in accordance with international standards:
The 2019 MONUSCO Independent Strategic Review recommended that UNMAS developed the national security forces capacity to mark, register and safely manage their weapons and ammunition stockpiles to avoid human rights violations with state-held weapons and diversion to armed groups. As such, UNMAS supports the National Commission for Small Arms and Light Weapons control (CNC-ALPC) through i) training to FARDC and PNC to destroy obsolete, abandoned and surrendered weapons and ammunition; ii) provision of equipment to safely store state-held weapons and ammunition; iii) training additional CNC-ALPC operational marking teams to ; iii) policy and framework development advice to CNC-ALPC to develop strategies, Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs), guidelines, a monitoring and evaluation framework for the 2018-2022 National Action Plan for SALW control and reporting capacity against relevant international frameworks.
Explosive Threat Analysis and Response:
In 2020, UNMAS conducted an IED threat assessment and provided analysis on the trends and impact of the explosive threat. Given the increase of IED related incidents, the main recommendations focus on the need to strengthen MONUSCO’s preparedness to respond to the IED threat by providing capacity building Explosive Hazard Assessment Training (EHAT) to Troops Contributing Countries (TCC), FARDC and personnel of the National EOD Implementing Partner AFRILAM.
Advocacy and Coordination:
UNMAS acts as the provider of last resort for the Mine Action Area of Responsibility and contributes to the development of the 2021 Humanitarian Needs Overview and Humanitarian Response Plan, fully integrating mine action within the wider response.
UNMAS is currently funded by MONUSCO Assessed Budget. UNMAS was also supported financially in the past by the Central Emergency Relief Fund, the Governments of Japan, Korea, Cyprus, Netherlands, Denmark as well as and the United Nations Association of Sweden. Additionally, the Government of Switzerland and Sweden provided in-kind personnel, including explosive ordnance disposal, information management, security and logistics experts, contributing to achieving UNMAS objectives in the DRC.
Data as of April 2021